Bakery owner Joseph Leone Introna recently wanted to take the taste of his bread to the next level. A television appearance featuring New York WaterMaker president and chief executive officer Paul Errigo and Mike Burke, owner of Brick, New Jersey-based Denino’s Pizzeria, caught his attention, and after some thorough research the bakery owner decided to order a WaterMaker unit for his bake shop.
The newly introduced New York WaterMaker offers bakeries and restaurateurs a patent-pending water source replication system that functions as a commercial water filter and replicator of the exact hardness, molecular structure and chemical composition of a specific location’s water. In targeting bakeries for the product, the company focused on replicating New York City water for its reputation of delicious New York-style bagels, breads and pizzas.
“One of the things that has frustrated me as a baker is having the right water,” says Introna, the owner of Joe Leone’s Italian Specialty Foods in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, and Joe Leone’s Gastronomia in Sea Girt, New Jersey. “I’m a Jersey kid. I’ve been baking since I was 11.”
Before Introna started, he had an important task — to choose which New York City area’s water to replicate. He went to social media and asked his bakery’s 11,000 Facebook followers to participate in a special public taste test. Obtaining water samples from six key regions (the Bronx, Newark, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Hoboken and Point Pleasant Beach), he baked bread samples for everyone to try.
The turnout was overwhelming, and well over half chose the Bronx water.
“The water is amazing,” Introna says. For bread baking, “the rise process is better, the elasticity of the dough is improved, and you potentially get a higher yield. Most of all, I love the reaction of my customers who say our bread tastes better. The taste is the key.”
Now, Joe Leone’s is leasing a New York WaterMaker unit to produce Bronx water for his bakery, which churns out 2,000 pounds of dough per day for 18 different doughs — from French baguettes to sourdoughs.
The cost? Less than $11-15 day, according to New York WaterMaker, which licenses use of the system for 10 years. “It’s a great deal,” Introna says. “Right now, that amounts to two loaves of bread for us — to up your product quality. It literally makes sense.”
Co-founded in the spring of 1997 in Point Pleasant Beach by Joseph Leone Introna and John Hilla, Joe Leone’s originated from the passion for baking, cooking and dedication instilled by Joe’s grandparents and John’s determination to achieve success for himself and his brother-in-law. “The desire to be extraordinary at the ordinary, constantly hone our craft, remain relevant to the industry while remaining true to our standards and to realize professional success while making a difference in the community.”
Businesses can now create New York City pizza or bagels anywhere in the world, or a franchisor can ensure that their recipes taste exactly the same across multiple geographic locations and regions, according to New York WaterMaker.
Moreover, the system offers clean and safe water through replication, disinfection and filtration with an incredibly small footprint.
Errigo says they are learning about bakery and foodservice applications for the product “at warp speed” and that feedback has been buzzing since it was introduced at the 2018 International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center in March.
“The reaction has astounded us,” says Errigo, a business development entrepreneur who works in major filtration systems for large metropolitan areas across the country.
The idea took about 18 months from concept to fully operational. It all started with noticing how many New Yorkers purchase many bags of bagels to bring with them when they fly to Florida to visit friends and family. The reputation of New York-style bagels is widespread, and the water does make a difference.
“I asked our chief science officer, ‘Why don’t we just make a machine?’” Errigo recalls. “We created a water source replication system that replicates the exact molecule structure of the source water. All we need is to get a sample from wherever they are. Our science team develops the secret sauce to match whatever water they want.”
Through this innovative system, recipes will be tastier, bread will be crispier, and pizza and bagels will be authentic New York City style, according to the company. Furthermore, it can improve the taste and texture of bread, coffee, tea, water, carbonated beverages and other recipes.
The New York WaterMaker is designed to appeal to restaurants, foodservice organizations and other establishments looking to replicate a specific geography’s signature taste (like New York City or even Paris and Italy).
Their prototype system is found at Denino’s Pizzeria, one of the nation’s most iconic pizzerias that was founded in 1937 in Staten Island, New York. Previously, Denino’s was driving truckloads of water back and forth to its multiple locations.
“Now, he can franchise,” Errigo says. Franchise operations won’t have to worry that their pizzas don’t taste the same as the original.
As a further selling point, Errigo says that no chemicals are used and the unit includes a filter and disinfection system to produce clean, crisp, fresh water. Additional information can be found at www.NewYorkWaterMaker.com.
Introna at Joe Leone’s remembers the step forward his bakery took from its original oven to a new Bongard oven, and how the New York WaterMaker system takes his product quality up another notch.
“I’m a realist, and we definitely feel a big difference,” he says.